Their Eyes Were Watching God

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The Pear Tree Symbol Analysis

The Pear Tree Symbol Icon
Janie has her first experience of sexual awakening under the blooming pear tree in spring, just before her first kiss with Johnny Taylor. Throughout the novel, the pear tree symbolizes for Janie the feeling she experienced directly while sitting beneath it – the sense of possibility in life for a connection between the self and the natural world, and the feelings of sexual desire and love. Thus when looking at the sexualized imagery of the pear tree blossoms, Janie declares, "So this was a marriage!" Janie's conflation between sexual desire and marriage is an idea that is eventually debunked for Janie by her experiences with Jody, but is reinvigorated when she meets Tea Cake and finds that her marriage to him allows room for both sexual fulfillment and love. It is for this reason that Janie feels she has finally reached the horizon.
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The Pear Tree Symbol Timeline in Their Eyes Were Watching God

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Pear Tree appears in Their Eyes Were Watching God. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Desire, Love, and Independence Theme Icon
...she is sixteen. The day of the kiss, Janie spends the day under a blossoming pear tree in Nanny's yard. Janie is moved by the fertility of the tree, finding its shift... (full context)
Chapter 3
Gender Roles and Relations Theme Icon
Desire, Love, and Independence Theme Icon
...how she yearns for something "sweet" in her marriage, like "when you sit under a pear tree ." (full context)
Chapter 11
Gender Roles and Relations Theme Icon
Voice, Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Desire, Love, and Independence Theme Icon
Power, Judgment, and Jealousy Theme Icon
...feelings for him, she refers to him as "a bee to a blossom – a pear tree blossom in spring." Yet Janie still attempts to convince herself that she is not interested... (full context)